Electric Vehicles on Phillip Island (Part 1) by Zoe Geyer

image: Jeni Jobe

First Published in the Bass Coast Post*

On Wednesday I was sitting in a café talking with a dear friend (face mask carefully tucked under chin while sipping coffee) about how to fix the climate change mess when the earth shook. Silence descended as everyone was stunned by the shaking leaves of plants, clinking of glasses, and rumbling under our feet. After a moment my friend broke the silence: “I’m just waiting for the four horsemen of the apocalypse to arrive now.” We’re all feeling a sense of foreboding as we look for a pathway to a future world of sunshine, rainbows and optimism.

It’s in this space that so much is happening at grass roots level. Totally Renewable Phillip Island (TRPI), a community group targeting 100% renewable and net zero carbon emissions by 2030, is one of many groups committed to taking action. And the momentum is growing. In 2019 Bass Coast Shire declared a Climate Emergency and earlier this year the council adopted a climate action plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. The Plan identifies 15 direct actions that households can take, three of which focus on transport: switch to low or no carbon transport; purchase more efficient passenger vehicles; and purchase an electric vehicle (EV).

EVs are more efficient than standard combustion engines, the plan notes. “Even when powered by the standard grid electricity, EVs reduce carbon emissions, noise and tailpipe pollution, improving public health and reducing ecological damage. They also provide energy storage potential which could support future energy grid flexibility.”

Well, fantastic. But how does owning an EV work out in practice? We consulted Michael and Theresa who live in Corinella and are the proud owners of a 2019 Renault Zoe ZE40, a small car that is the best-selling EV in Europe. They’ve had the car for one year as of this week and bought it to take a small personal action in response to climate change. Importantly the 300km range suited their recent move to Corinella. “We visit family in Warragul and Ferntree Gully, have commuted to work in Pakenham and make many trips to Wonthaggi for shopping.” But is their EV more expensive than a ‘normal’ car? “Yes, for a comparable small car but we don’t have the running costs so definitely an economic purchase over time.” (to be continued)

*the author is co-ordinator of Totally Renewable Phillip Island. The full article is here. Earlier blogs on EVs here and here.